Certificate ProgramsCertificate Programs

Geographic Information Systems Certificate

Apply for Candidacy

There is a nonrefundable application fee of $50 to declare candidacy in this program.

Contact Information

Learn more about the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate program.

Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

UCR Extension's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate Program provides you with the most innovative and practical GIS education available, whether you are involved in building and implementing information systems or seeking the skills to launch a career in the GIS field.

Participants in the program will:

  • Learn concepts and applications of GIS technology.
  • Obtain hands-on experience using the latest GIS software.
  • Use geospatial technology to develop solutions to issues facing communities and industry.
  • Explore interdisciplinary elements of GIS including cartography, topology, database design and spatial analysis.
  • Understand how GIS is used within health care, public works, natural and historical resources, environmental management and other fields.

The instructors are pioneers in the field of GIS, bringing an incredible 140 years of GIS experience to the classroom. They work in government, private corporations and provide real-world expertise.

Who Can Benefit?

This program is designed for people who wish to enter the field of GIS or to sharpen current GIS skills. It is also appropriate for current GIS users who want to validate their expertise with a certificate.

Read a student success story.

Course Schedule

Required Courses (18 units)UnitsFallWinterSpringSummer
Practical Approaches for Implementing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) *3.0Offered  Offered
Principles of Web GIS Applications **3.0Offered  Offered
Introduction to Spatial Analysis3.0 Offered  
Cartographic Design **3.0 Offered Offered
GIS Database Design **3.0  OfferedOffered
GIS Applications Lab **3.0  OfferedOffered
Elective Courses (6 units)UnitsFallWinterSpringSummer
GIS Data Capture Using GPS Technology3.0Offered   
Python Scripting for GIS3.0  Offered 
Map Projections1.5    
Remote Sensing: Space Imagery and Processing3.0  Offered 
GIS in Land Use Planning1.5 Offered  
Using GIS in Crime Analysis1.5Offered   
ArcGIS Beyond the Fundamentals: An Online Self-Paced Course1.0OfferedOfferedOfferedOffered
*Prerequiste for Certificate: Experience using ArcGIS Desktop; or Introduction to ArcGIS Desktop; or Learning ArcGIS Desktop: Online (link on Completion Information tab) ** Summer courses apply to the GIS Summer Academy. Spaces for individual enrollment may be available.

Completion Information

Completion Requirements

To earn the certificate, students must successfully complete (grade C or better) a total of 24 units: 6 required courses (18 units) and 6 elective units. The certificate must be completed within five years from the completion of the first course.

You may take courses in any order, however it is highly recommended that you begin with Practical Approaches for Implementing GIS and end with GIS Applications Lab.

Online technology courses require a PC with Internet access and appropriate software.

Completion Time

The program can typically be completed within 12 months. However, you can choose to participate in the GIS Summer Academy which lets you earn the certificate in one summer. All coursework must be completed within five years.


The cost for the program, including textbooks and parking, is approximately $5,400.


Transfer Credit

Equivalent courses from other accredited colleges and universities completed within the last five years will be considered for transfer, up to a total of six units. Official transcripts are required.

Instructors & Administrators


  • Colin Childs, B.A., Esri, Redlands
  • Thomas R. Corrigan, M.P.A., Public Utilities Department, city of Riverside
  • Brooke Reams, Geospatial Analyst, Esri
  • Pinde Fu, Ph.D. Esri, Redlands
  • David Jacobus, B.S., GIS Analyst, RBF Consulting, Irvine
  • John Yaist, M.A., Technology Lead, Esri Developer Network, Redlands
  • Doug Mende, M.B.A., Principal, Mende Consulting, Inc., Redlands
  • Makram A. Murad-Al-Shaikh, M.S., Senior Instructor, Esri, Redlands
  • Francelina A. Neto, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona
  • Solomon N. Nimako, M.Sc. GIS, GIS/Analyst, city of Rancho Cucamonga
  • Lisa A. Pierce, M.A., Cogstone Paleontology, Archaeology and History, Redlands
  • Michael Fene, Contractor, Implementation Lead for the Common Chemical Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Sensor Interface, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, San Diego

Instructor Opportunities

Interested in becoming an instructor at UCR Extension? Find out how.

Additional Information

Textbook Information

If a textbook is required, information is provided in the course listing when scheduled, on the confirmation you receive after enrolling, or by e-mail for an online class.

GIS Internship

Earn 1.5 units toward GIS Certificate Program requirements by participating in a GIS field study/internship of at least 60 hours or more. For more information, call (951) 827- 5804 or e-mail sciences@ucx.ucr.edu.

Master's Degree

Students who earn the Geographic Information Systems Certificate can apply credit toward a specialized M.B.A. at La Sierra University. To learn more, call La Sierra University at (951) 785-2064.

Delivery Method

Most classes are offered in a traditional classroom setting on weeknights and weekends. Up to 6.0 units may earned by completing online GIS software classes.

Contact Information

Jennifer Campbell
(951) 827-5804

Summer Academy

GIS Summer Academy

Earn the GIS Summer Certificate in one summer. This intensive format is particularly attractive to people who live some distance from UCR Extension and to those who have the summer open for continuing education.

Learn more about the Geographic Information Systems Summer Academy.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

UC Riverside Extension Center
1200 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92507-4596

UCR Extension Center

Tel: Work(951) 827-4105 or Toll-Free(800) 442-4990 toll-free
Fax: Fax(951) 827-7273